Posts Tagged ‘TOD’

wordThey keep calling it “Transit-Oriented Development” — but I don’t think they know what it means:

Could the purchase of a 2.2-acre strip transform the city’s downtown into a more commuter- and shopper-friendly place? Mayor Benjamin Blake thinks so, which is why he’s excited about the expected approval soon by the State Bond Commission of nearly $5 million to pay for the first phase of a parking plan that would allow the city to buy the the former A&P Supermarket site, plus two other parcels along the north side of the Metro-North Railroad station.

Although still in its formative stages, the purchase would lead to the creation of about 350 parking spaces, much of which would be in two-level parking structures. City officials said that there are about 750 people on the waiting list for a parking spot near the Metro-North station, with some having been on the list for more than two years. “Fifty spaces will be added immediately, while we wait for funding sources for Phase II,” Blake said.

“Over the last four years, we have worked with municipal partners to advance transit-oriented development projects in order to lay the foundation for long-term sustainable economic growth in towns across the state and ensure these are livable, walkable communities for employees and employers alike,” said Malloy in his news release

They are going to spend $5 million to purchase the land, plus interest costs (because it is a bond), plus the cost of a 2-level parking garage — all for the benefit of a few hundred train commuters!

If they really wanted to “transform” downtown, the city could have put in downtown housing, providing customers for the defunct supermarket. Instead, they will hollow out downtown for a parking lot.

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MacArthur Transit Village

Here is a photo of the lovely new Transit Village under construction at the MacArthur BART station:


(Yes that is a giant parking garage, behind a giant freeway interchange.)

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Moffett Park Clusterfuck

This is Moffett Park station — a stupendous example of  VTA incompetence. This photo below is of Moffett Park Dr, the main street running past the station.

Note the total lack of sidewalks, or bike lanes of that matter. And the special touch of making transit riders climb over a railing, just to reach the platform:

Moffett Park Station

See that parking garage in the distance? Here is a closer look:

Moffett Parking Garage

Believe it or not, this 1217-space parking garage was built as part of a Sunnyvale “Green Building” Initiative. Another fine example of promoting transit-oriented development in Silicon Valley!


Moffett Park station, by the way, is one of the least used VTA LRT stations. I can’t imagine why that is?

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Parking-Oriented Development

Union City celebrated progress on its BART station for a “Leed-Certified” transit-oriented development project:

There is now a 216-unit apartment complex called Pacific Terrace. Next to that is Station Center — the new 157-unit, affordable-housing building where Dutton-Cook’s family lives. It was developed by MidPen Housing, a Foster City-based company specializing in affordable housing. The five-story complex is LEED Platinum, the highest ranking for green construction. The $65.3 million development was funded by several sources, including the Union City Redevelopment Agency, Alameda County Housing Authority, California Community Reinvestment Corporation and the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

And here are the parking ratios planned for this green-construction, transit-oriented development:

Phase 1 Summary

  • 274 residential units, including one tower;
    • 159 high-rise units;
    • 115 mid-rise units;
  • Construction of approximately 14,515 square feet of retail space, 5,075 square feet of business condominiums, and 403 parking stalls.

Phase 2 Summary

  • Up to 699 residential units, two towers, street-level townhouses, and podium level flats; including:
    • 376 one-bedroom units;
    • 301 two-bedroom units;
    • 22 three-bedroom units; and,
  • Construction of up to 22,120 square feet of retail space and 1,026 parking stalls.

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Transit Villages Are Neither

Came across this ridiculous sign today in Pleasant Hill. It reads: “Contra Costa Centre Transit Village”. As you can tell, it plonked next to a major freeway off-ramp that is definitely not transit-oriented.

This is hardly an isolated example. “Transit Village” has become a popular name for redevelopment projects (that are neither transit nor village). While the Transit Village concept might have once been a good idea, it is now a meaningless planner buzzword. Can we just kill the term already?

And yes, they call it a “transit” “village” because of a nearby BART station (and parking fortress). Good luck walking there, though. And note that logo on the front, commanding commuters to Work, Live, Shop . I’m sure the slogan sounds much better in the original German.

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San Rafael has put together one of those Gawd-awful design-by-committees to do a station area plan for its downtown. This is for when the new ‘SMART’ rail line reaches the downtown.

Here some of their recommendations:

  1. Additional traffic lanes on Hetherton St.
  2. 3rd St. crosswalk elimination
  3. 1:1 parking requirement
  4. Potential public garage
  5. Potential future transit parking

It is amazing how so many of these transit station area-plans morph into autocentric parking plans.

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Billions of dollars are being spent to extend BART to Milpitas. And that’s after billions were spent running VTA light-rail to Milpitas. So what is Milpitas planning to do with this transit infrastructure? Perhaps build some transit-oriented development, or nice walkable neighborhood?

Milpitas City Council, convening as the city’s redevelopment agency, voted 3-0 on consent June 21 to execute a $100,000 contract agreement with San Jose-based David J. Powers & Associates Inc. for a plan line study for the Montague Expressway widening, which will add a fourth lane in both directions of the expressway.

Incidentally, the VTA will be covering some of the costs of this monstrosity.

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Bad enough San Jose plans for a Sea of Parking around the Diridon station area, City Council also wants to make the area the most bland neighborhood this side of the Mississippi:

If the final plan is adopted next year, San Jose officials said, the area could ultimately be modeled after other popular regional destinations, including the L.A. LIVE entertainment complex in Los Angeles, anchored by the Staples Center; Union Station in Denver, near Coors Field; and the Kansas City Power & Light District, near the Sprint Arena.

And if that doesn’t strike you as a livable neighborhood, just wait because it gets worse:

Developing the area will be challenging, two consultants told the council Thursday. They noted that the public and private landowners in the area may have different ideas about land use, which could result in helter-skelter development. A master developer could solve those issues, the consultants said, though others noted that the odds of the cash-strapped city being able to subsidize a master developer is “close to zero,” as Horwedel put it.

This suburban planning mentality is wrong on so many levels. Real cities develop organically — what these consultants dismiss as “helter-skelter” development. A Master Planned community ensures a cookie-cutter approach to the neighborhood, characterized by bland buildings and boring public spaces. Even worse is the notion that developers should be subsidized to build such crap. This land will be served by subway, light-rail, and high-speed rail — what additional incentive would a developer require to build in such a location?

The "model" for Diridon Station development

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Some $10 billion in Federal, State, and regional funding will be spent building new BART and high-speed rail lines into San Jose Diridon Station. Given that unprecedented level of transit investment, we can expect San Jose to make major zoning changes, right?

Well last Tuesday, council was presented the Staff recommendation. And as you read this, keep in mind they hired consultants, and did over one year of public outreach meetings to come up with this 1-line recommendation:

Parking goals only, no proposed changes to current code

So despite a 10-figure expenditure on new rail lines, San Jose will keep its existing auto-centric development patterns. And what might that look like? The Alternatives Analysis Report projects 15,000 new parking spaces in full build-out scenarios. That is in addition to some 5,000 parking spaces for the station itself. And if a new ballpark is built, there could be even more parking.

Ironically, the San Jose decision comes at the same time the CA High-Speed Rail Authority adopted its Station Area Development Planning Guidelines. That policy calls for “reduced parking requirements for retail, office, and residential uses due to their transit access and walkability.”

But the planners did make some pretty pictures! Too bad they bear no resemblance to reality.

No cars, no parking evident in this artist rendition

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